Lucas Johnson suffers injury in Georgia Tech’s first scrimmage

Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson was born Aug. 20, 1957, in Newland, North Carolina. Johnson was hired and introduced Dec. 7, 2007 as Tech's 12th football coach, beginning with John Heisman in 1904. Tech defeated Jacksonville State 41-14 on Aug. 28, 2008, in Johnson's debut as Yellow Jackets coach. Johnson's Georgia Southern teams won Division I-AA (now FCS) national championships in 1999 and 2000. Johnson coached six seasons at Navy and was 43-19 over the final five, after a 2-10 first season. Jo

There was a toll at Georgia Tech’s first scrimmage of the preseason Saturday morning, an injury to quarterback Lucas Johnson.

Coach Paul Johnson did not offer more information about the injury following the practice, the Yellow Jackets’ ninth of the preseason. Lucas Johnson and Tobias Oliver have been competing to be the No. 2 quarterback behind starter TaQuon Marshall. At the team’s Fan Day on Saturday afternoon, Lucas Johnson’s lower right leg and foot was encased in a walking boot. Johnson is a sophomore, and Oliver is a redshirt freshman.

Paul Johnson said that he might move freshman James Graham back to quarterback. Graham was recruited to Tech as a quarterback but was switched to wide receiver Thursday to add depth to that position after injuries there.

“We’ll just have to see,” he said.

Otherwise, the coach’s review of the scrimmage, conducted in the morning at Bobby Dodd Stadium, was mixed.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “There’s some positives, like anything, but we’ve got a long way to go. Penalties – you can’t start every drive with penalties. A lot of missed assignments. Too many missed assignments with the first-team offense, especially up front. For those guys who have played, that’s ridiculous.”

Tech has four offensive linemen back with six starts or more, although center Kenny Cooper is out with a foot injury suffered in spring practice, and other linemen with experience. Johnson said he couldn’t remember an instance of the offense fumbling in the roughly 100-play scrimmage, not the usual for a first scrimmage in which backups and freshmen are participating.

“You’ve got experienced guys,” Johnson said. “It shouldn’t be on the ground.”

Tech has returning starters at all three running-back positions (B-back KirVonte Benson and A-backs Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy) and at quarterback (Marshall).

In notes of the closed scrimmage provided by the athletic department, the offense scored four times (two touchdowns and two field goals) in 18 possessions starting 70 yards from the goal line. The touchdowns were scored on a 54-yard pass from Marshall to Searcy and on a 1-yard run by B-back Jordan Mason.

Kicker Shawn Davis made one field goal from 47 yards (the longer of his two field goals last season was from 34 yards) and Brenton King connected from 45 yards (season long last year: 42 yards). Defensive end Desmond Branch had three sacks. Oliver, the backup quarterback, had runs of 39 and 56 yards. There were no turnovers.

Johnson said that Marshall played the first series “live,” meaning he could be tackled. Marshall has been taking part in practices with a gold (non-contact) jersey, but has wanted to be able to engage in contact. Johnson said Marshall “threw the ball a lot” and “looks fine.”

After practicing for nine consecutive days since beginning practice Aug. 3, Tech will be off Sunday and will resume practice Monday.

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